I’ve recently been to Lembeh visiting the rather marvellous Lembeh Resort, and will be posting about the place in a day or two’s time.
The opportunity arose to finalise my review of the Canon G7X and Nauticam housing, I have done a series of reviews the links of which are below.
I couldn’t complete my review as the final part of the jigsaw wasn’t in place at the time.
And Alex from Nauticam UK hadn’t been able to get his hands upon the newly designed Nauticam Wide Angle lens, for attaching to compact housings or I hadn’t been away on a trip to test it.
All however fell into place nicely and my friend Mario from FishInFocus brought the relevant items out to Lembeh with him a few weeks back, and we were both in a position to put the camera housing and wide angle lens through it’s paces.
Mario also brought out the Nauticam CMC macro converter, and the final part of my review will look at this and the wide angle lens when used upon the Nauticam housing the Canon G7X.
I won’t go into too much detail about the other aspects of the camera and housing as I have covered it in my previous posts, so please click the relevant links below.
Mario will be doing an accompanying blog for FishInFocus which I will link to where he tests these lenses on a mirrorless system, I will alert you to their presence when he has them written.
So what can I say about the two new lenses for this combo then?
I have mentioned in one of the previous blogs about the usefulness of being able to change lenses mid dive, subject depending, and this is one of the key features of shooting with a lot of compact cameras as aside the size advantages they also enable this facility.
This isn’t completely the case with the Nauticam G7X housing though. Nauticam being Nauticam their attention to detail and quality is always at the forefront, and their designers must have realised that to produce a housing that allowed the full zoom facility with this camera, would come with certain compromises. One of which is that any wide-angle lenses used additionally would necessitate a shorter throw port than usual, which means that the lens would be unable to zoom right to the end of the zoom range, which is annoyingly the end that you would most likely be using it with any macro convertor or diopter.
So you have to make a choice before diving about whether or not you are going to be primarily shooting wide angle or macro, and fit the short port for wide angle use, or the normal port allowing full zoom range.
This is not the end of the world and whilst not allowing you total versatility like a lot of compacts it doesn’t compromise anything for quality.
There are a couple of housings available for this camera which have eschewed this option to allow you to use both wide and macro lenses on the same dive, but I have witnessed the quite large quality trade off and I wasn’t impressed.
So for now I can honestly say that if you want the best from this great little camera then Nauticam is the way to go, you wouldn’t want to run a Ferrari on diesel now would you?
The Nauticam CMC or Compact Macro Convertor is in keeping with it’s name and unlike it’s larger brother is relatively compact.
It retails for around £250 which I think is a bit of a bargain to be honest, as its is half the size of my Subsee +10, less expensive and in my tests seems a bit sharper too.
And it was compact enough for me to store it on my dive up my wet suit sleeve.
This however cannot be said for the newly designed Nauticam Wide Angle lens, which is a beast of a bit of quality glass.
It is domed, with an integrated shade and like the CMC has a 67mm thread so should fit a lot of current systems.
It is comparable in size and weight to the Inon UWL H100 and dome port which I have tested previously, I haven’t got a finalised price for it yet, but it looks like coming out at about the same price if you include the dome port too.
It is however better matched and suited to this system, and unlike when I used the Inon it still gave acceptable results when opened up to the wider apertures.
The Inon really needed the G7x stopping down to the very smallest apertures to get the best corner quality from it, but I was still seeing good results at f5 as seen here below from the Nauticam Wide Angle lens..
So here are a few shots that I took on a couple of dives using this system and also my Subsee +10 I will put the relevant info in the picture headings, and on the following paragraphs. Most of my macro shots on this trip were lit using a combination of two snooted lights. With the main light coming from the Deepshots Tentacle Snoot, often times with the tip removed to give a slightly broader spread. As with this shot and the back lit Goby shots in the rest of the article.
This Fang Blenny is at about the smallest creature size limit that I could record using the short port on the Nauticam, still pretty flexible though as long as you didn’t want to go for even smaller subjects, so you could have feasibly shot this on the same dive as the wide-angle shot from above.
Another wide angle shot, of a school of catfish this time shot at f8. The flexibility of being able to vary my apertures more than I could using the Inon lens made for quite a difference in shooting potential.
This shot of the backlit Goby was a combination of lighting with most of the light coming from the Tentacle snoot, untipped from behind, with my slightly snooted Sea and Sea YSD1 providing a bit of foreground light.
Here’s another Goby this time on a leaf that I have done a 100% crop of to show you the sharpness of the Canon and Nauticam CMC lens.
Here’s the crop
It’s fair to say that Lembeh is primarily a macro venue but with a couple of very good wide angle sites for a bit of variety thrown in, and the majority of my shots from the two dives I did with this camera combo show that.
However as I found in the Red Sea earlier in the year, this great little camera when teamed with a Nauticam housing and now both the matched lenses is a truly flexible system that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend for all purposes, including professional use in blogs, articles, and even for large prints. One of my shots from earlier in the year was used on a huge two metre tall vinyl banner at the dive show this year, so you can really take this set up quite seriously now, and for those where weight and size are at a premium then this little outfit won’t disappoint.
*STOP PRESS* I will be testing a much less expensive alternative to the gorgeous Nauticam Housing, out in the Red Sea on my March 2016 Winter Warmer Photo Trip soon. Always good to have alternatives. Please check back in a couple of weeks time.